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7 Reasons Why Quitting Facebook Now Is Good For Your Future

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For the past 100 years or so, there had been huge improvements in communication. From letters to telephone calls, from telephone calls to text messages, from texts to video calls and from to videos to social network and on and on. Following all these improvements, one of the biggest inventions of the 21st century was founded in 2004 and since then it started to spread like an epidemic virus, first in the US and then around the world.

Now Facebook has more 1.23 billion monthly active users. Although initially it aimed to bring all people together for the sake of connecting, the effects of Facebook on masses became a huge discourse after it gained so much popularity. Until now, lots of disadvantages had already been listed. It is now time to list the ones that definitely affect your productivity.

1. Facebook is a time waster.

While being on Facebook and scrolling down through the news feed, many are not aware of the time they actually spend on viewing others’ life events or sharing. It became such a disease that many even feel obliged to like or comment on anything that was shared. You might think of the time spend on Facebook as your free time, though you are not aware that you can spend the same time taking care of yourself, learning something new or doing your daily tasks.

2. Facebook can demotivate you.

By seeing someone else’s continuous posts about the parties they went to or friends they see frequently, you might feel insecure about yourself and even feel as a loser if your own posts are not as cool as the ones in your news feed. However, there is rarely such a thing as going out every day or having lots of acquaintances to meet everyday. Moreover, sharing every moment of your life is also not obligation, since being private is quite a norm.

3. Facebook makes you to deal with useless people.

Look at the number of friends you have on Facebook. How many of them are really good friends? Or how many of the friend requests you get are real people or your actual acquaintances? You have to admit that you have people on Facebook who are not related to you, but who would write to you once in a while and more than likely, you will answer to them. Thus, you waste not only your time, but also your energy.

4. Facebook makes you to deal with useless information.

It is one thing to read newspapers or magazines in order to get information, but it is an entirely other thing to be faced with the same information, trends and innovations through continuous sharings of people. I bet one of the things that you will not miss about Facebook after quitting it, are the selfies of girls with the infamous duckface.

5. Facebook damages your communication skills.

When is the last time you actually hung out in real life with your friends, relatives or colleagues? Because of the social media that is supposed to help us communicate, we forget about real communication, and therefore, have difficulties communicating effectively which negatively affects our relationship at home, at work or anywhere else really.

6. Facebook manipulates you to work on your posts.

One of the biggest problems of Facebook is its influence on people’s creativity. Although it is assumed to be a free social media site, which let’s you to share almost anything you want, you have this tendency to want to get more likes. In order to get more likes, you must work very hard on your shared posts, trying to make it funny, creative or smart while you could spend the same time doing something much more useful.

7. Facebook becomes your life.

The marketing strategy of Facebook is quite clear – to make you spend as much time as possible on the Web site. While working on their posts to be cool and wasting time on Facebook, many people actually try to be someone else, but end up being isolated from real world and real themselves. It is possible to spend the same time and energy into simply being yourself, or a better version of you. Which begs the question, why not try it?

The reasons above are presented to you in order to help you consider your feelings regarding Facebook and imagine how it can badly affecting your life and productivity. Therefore these points will guide you in seeing what your life will be like without Facebook. So really, quitting the popular social media site doesn’t sound so bad after all, now does it?

Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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8 Ways to Make an Achievable Year Plan for 2015

Set big goals for 2015

2015 is upon us, which means it’s time to get your New Year plan in order. The beginning of each year is an exciting time where everything feels full of possibility, but as the year goes on, this excitement often fades and the drive to achieve all your goals can fall by the wayside as well. To make sure your 2015 sees you achieve your big goals, you need to make your plan realistic and achievable.

Here are eight simple ways to make an achievable year plan for 2015. Ready to get started? Read on.

1. Know Why

Being committed to a plan is great but you need to get your foundations right first. Knowing why you’re working towards what you’re working towards is essential. It will guide you in the goal-setting process and keep you going when it all feels too hard (and at times it will!). So before you do anything, make sure you understand your ‘why’ first.

2. Write Down Your Goals

If you want to make an achievable year plan, writing down your goals is essential. Writing them down makes them real rather than thoughts in your head. Make sure every goal is a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-related.

3. Create Action Steps

For every goal, create actionable steps to get there. Your action steps are all about breaking each goal down into small, action-oriented mini steps. Think of these steps like the ‘how’ of achieving your goal.

4. Form Good Habits

Creating an achievable year plan is all about forming good habits. Set some solid habits at the start of the year and make a plan to stick to it. A habit might be writing a daily to-do list, reviewing your goals weekly, or daily exercise. Consider what habits will help you reach your goals and schedule them in!

5. Never Miss Twice

In the midst of your amazing year plan life happens, and sometimes it gets in the way. You’re bound to have days during the year when you just can’t follow through on your goals. By employing the mindset of ‘never miss twice’ you’ll ensure that even when you do have an off day, you are back on track the very next day working toward your goals.

6. Know Your Highest Leverage Tasks

Understanding your highest leverage tasks is all about knowing what is going to have the biggest impact in helping you reach your goals and make your dreams for 2015 come true. Knowing your high impact tasks means you can spend more time on the most important things and less time on things that don’t matter as much. There’s a limited amount of time in each day, so spending it wisely by using it to work towards what will get you results is essential.

7. Harness the Power of the Group

Sometimes it can feel tough going it alone. If you’re working alone, tap into the power of the group to make your 2015 year plan feel achievable. The internet is great for tapping into the power of the group – think online discussion groups, challenges. and competitions. All of these are full of the support, community, and outside push you need to achieve your goals.

8. Take Time For You

Among all your big plans for the new year is you! Take time out for yourself throughout the year to ensure you are feeling your very best physically, emotionally and spiritually. Taking this time for yourself will ensure you’re in the very best position to achieve the big goals when you need to.

Featured photo credit: Goal Setting by Angie Torres via flic.kr

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100 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil

100 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconuts, and more specifically their oil, have gained quite the reputation over the past few years – and it’s no wonder! Touted as one of the healthiest foods to include in our diets thanks to its high lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid that supposedly positively impacts our cholesterol levels – don’t worry, I didn’t know this either!) content and its impressive vitamin profile, coconut oil also has a myriad of other uses in areas ranging from beauty and grooming, to pet care or house cleaning.

Thanks to its increase in popularity in recent months, this brilliant product is becoming more and more accessible, meaning that now is the perfect time to stock up and experiment with its numerous uses. If you’ve bought a jar but aren’t quite sure as to what to do with it, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are 100 amazing uses for coconut oil – we guarantee you won’t have heard of at least half!

Cooking and baking

1. A substitute coconut oil for butter or shortening in baked good recipes.
2. A safe oil for deep-frying.
3. Use instead of butter or oil to grease your cake tins.
4. A delicious, healthy alternative to other coffee creamers.
5. An essential ingredient for bulletproof coffee.
6. An alternative to other oils in Asian-inspired dishes, such as stir-fries and soups.
7. Add it to your food processor with your nuts of choice to make a deliciously smooth nut butter.
8. Melt it with peanut butter, add sea salt and set in the fridge for your very own healthy peanut butter fudge.
9. Add to cacao powder and honey and set in the fridge for delicious chocolate treats.
10. Mix it with cacao and pop it in the microwave for an – almost – instant guilt-free chocolate and coconut microwave cake.
11. Try a different take on mayonnaise by using half coconut oil, half olive oil in your next batch.
12. Use it to elevate your winter vegetables (especially sweet potatoes) by tossing them in coconut oil before you roast them.
13. Try an alternative salad dressing.
14. Use it in a delicious, healthy granola.
15. Use it on toast instead of butter.
16. Substitute it for peanut butter in your oatmeal for a healthy and tasty alternative.
17. Try it in a delicious Brain Power smoothie.
18. Mix with a tablespoon of chia seeds for an all-day energy boost.
19. A different and moreish topping for your freshly popped popcorn.
20. Use for seasoning your cast-iron pans and giving them a non-stick coating.
21. Use for conditioning your wooden chopping boards.

Beauty

1. An alternative to expensive hair treatments by whipping up a coconut oil and honey hair mask.
2. Apply melted oil to damp hair and place under a heated towel for 40 minutes for a deep-conditioning treatment.
3. Use it as an intensive overnight hair treatment.
4. A great flyaway, frizzy hair tamer.
5. A natural way to fight split ends.
6. Apply to damp hair, let it sit for 2-3 minutes, and comb gently for detangling.
7. Use it to shape and moisturise your moustache or beard.
8. Whip up your very own lip balm to treat sore, chapped lips.
9. Mix it with your favorite lipstick for a moisturizing lip tint.
10. Mix it with some pigment or eye shadow for a fashionable, glossy look.
11. A natural alternative to highlighter for a gorgeous, healthy glow.
12. A wonderful way to soothe and heal dry and sore nostrils in the winter.
13. Rub into your nails and cuticles to restore softness and shine.
14. An excellent moisturizer for dry and cracked feet.
15. Melt and mix with sugar for a simple, moisturizing body scrub.
16. Swirl into your bath water for a moisturizing soak.
17. Smooth over your eyebrows and eyelashes to soften the hairs and keep them in place.
18. Use as a make-up remover..
19. Use as a shaving and after-shave lotion.
20. Preventing ingrown hairs by applying regularly to affected areas.
21. For glowy, dewy skin, mix with baking soda and apply in circular movements onto your face before rinsing.
22. Use as a facial moisturizer if you have very dry, sensitive skin.
23. Use as an intensive night-time moisturizer.
24. Got new ink? Apply oil as a DIY tattoo moisturizer/healer.
25. A natural way of reducing age spots.
26. A wonderful massage oil either on its own or with essential oils.
27. A natural way of helping stretchmarks fade.
28. An ingredient for making your own soothing coconut soap.
29. Use as a (very weak) deodorant.

Health and wellness

1. Simply mix with peppermint extract for a natural alternative to Vapor Rub.
2. Helps fight diaper rashes.
3. Helps calm eczema flare-up.
4. Helps to reduce sweeling and itching for any bug bite.
5. Repels insects very effectively.
6. Very useful to help soothe burns and help them heal faster (this works for sunburns, too).
7. Increase levels of “good” cholesterol due to its high levels of lauric acid.
8. Its anti-viral properties make it super effective against cold sores.
9. Melt and mix with honey and lemon juice if you have a sore throat for a comforting anti-bacterial drink.
10. Try adding to ginger tea to alleviate heartburn or nausea.
11. Great for repelling lice and protecting your children from any outbreaks.
12. Protects your feet from athlete’s foot.
13. Great for oil pulling.
14. Has strong anti-viral, -bacterial and -fungal properties and will help boost your immune system.
15. Soothes dry, scratchy coughs.
16. Can be used in aromatherapy.
17. Helps prevent cracked nipples during breastfeeding.
18. Can improve calcium and magnesium absorption into your system, making it great for boosting bone health.
19. Its medium-chain saturated fats are also fabulous metabolism boosters.
20.Has also been proven to be an effective appetite suppressant.
21. Significant evidence states that ingesting coconut oil regularly may help with Alzheimers.
22. Helps ease arthritis.
23. Helps wounds and small cuts heal faster.
24. Helps with constipation by lubricating your digestive tract.
25. Helps keep your digestion regular and looks after your gut.
26. Mix with baking powder for a DIY toothpaste.
27. Use it in tandem with sunscreen for a gorgeous, even tan, and protected skin.
28. A great natural remedy for cradle cap in babies.
29. Adding a little oil to baby’s bath is a wonderful way to keep his or her skin supple and healthy.
30. Mix with 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil for an effective cellulite remedy.
31. Mix with lavender essential oil and sprinkle on a pillow to encourage sleep.

Cleaning and housekeeping

1. Replaces your traditional wood polish.
2. Helps remove rust from household appliances.
3. Apply to a rag and clean your shower to get rid of pesky soap scum.
4. Lubricate door hinges with it to avoid irritating squeaky sounds.
5. A super effective way to remove chewing gum from clothing.
6. A great alternative to shoe polish – just remove dirt with a cloth and rub into your shoes using a circular motion.
7. Use instead of gasoline as an all-natural fire starter.
8. Use unstick zippers and keep them in good condition.
9. Use to lubricate small motors, such as your blender – a little goes a long way!
10. Very effective for greasing bicycle chains.
11. Use to buff up metal and give it a healthy shine.
12. Combine with lye, water and essential oils of your choice for an all-natural laundry detergent.

Pet care

1. May help reduce hair balls: simply apply to your cat’s paws.
2. Apply to your dog’s paws to help soothe cracked, painful skin.
3. Very effective for repelling fleas.
4. Rub through your dog or cat’s coat to give it a healthy sheen.
5. Very effective for keeping your horse’s mane and tail healthy and shiny.
6. If your pet regularly gets allergies, feeding him a little oil daily can help reduce itchiness.
7. If you live on a farm and keep cows, it is a wonderful udder soother.

Phew, what a long list! I bet some of these amazing uses for coconut oil surprised you. Which ones did you already know of, and which did you discover today? Let us know in the comments!

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Uncommon Quotes That Can Change Your Life

Lifehack Feature Image Quotes

Quotes are tiny stories. A story told in a few words that shout to our soul. Quotes are not meant to be read like an article or a book. Quotes can change your life only when you choose to be deliberate when you read them. Deliberately think about each group of quotes listed under the following photographs.

Consider these little-known quotes. Write them down in your personal journals. Ponder them one by one. Contemplate each word and let the message you see develop over time. Take one quote and with patience and expectation discover what these words mean to you.

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The SEAL Code

Here is an excerpt from the credo of the Navy SEALs: “I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.”

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“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” ~Anne Frank

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” ~C.S. Lewis

“The last of human freedoms—the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” ~Viktor E. Frankl

“The soul is stronger than its surroundings.” ~William James

“Know yourself.” ~Greek Proverb

“I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.” ~Neil Armstrong

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle

“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

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“To be awake is to be alive.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” ~Plutarch

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” ~John Wooden

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” ~Winston Churchill

“There is nothing brilliant nor outstanding in my record, except perhaps this one thing: I do the things that I believe ought to be done… And when I wake up my mind to do a thing, I act.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” ~Thomas A. Edison

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” ~Neil Armstrong

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“If you want to be happy, be.” ~Leo Tolstoy

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison

“Optimism is true moral courage.” ~Ernest Shackleton

“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.” ~Pythagoras

“The soul is stronger than its surroundings.” ~William James

“So much of our time is spent in preparation, so much in routine and so much in retrospect, that the amount of each person’s genius is confined to a very few hours.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself.” ~W. Somerset Maugham

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Viktor E. Frankl

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” ~Isaac Newton

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” ~John Wooden

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~Thomas A. Edison

“If we all did the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” ~Thomas Edison

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~T. S. Eliot

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

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“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” ~Helen Keller

“My thoughts disentangle themselves as they pass through my lips and fingertips.” ~Dawson Trotman

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” ~Alexander Graham Bell

“What do I mean by concentration? I mean focusing totally on the business at hand and commanding your body to do exactly what you want it to do.” ~Arnold Palmer

“I was raised to face any challenge.”  ~Louis Zamperini

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” ~Billy Graham

“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” ~Thomas J. Watson

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“Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.” ~Amelia Earhart

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

“The last of human freedoms—the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances.” ~Viktor E. Frankl

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” ~George Washington Carver

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~Aristotle

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” ~Aristotle

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” ~Winston Churchill

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” ~Neil Armstrong

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“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~William James

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” ~C.S. Lewis

“Peace begins with a smile.” ~Mother Teresa

“From caring comes courage.” ~Lao Tzu

Michael Oher: “I’ve never had one before.”

Leigh Anne Tuohy: “What? A room to yourself?”

Michael Oher: “A bed.”

~Blindside

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“I am still learning.” ~Michelangelo

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” ~Albert Einstein

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” ~Billy Graham

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” ~Albert Einstein

“Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday.” ~John Wayne

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” ~Pablo Picasso

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” ~Will Rogers

“I really like reading books.” ~Dale Carnegie

“Think, think, think.”  ~A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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“Change happens in an instant. It happens the moment you DECIDE to change.” ~ Allyson Lewis

I wrote this sentence in 2006. It has been read by tens of thousands of people and shared over and over through social media. Why did I choose my own quote to conclude this article? Because this quote is a tiny story of my life.

This is my story shared through words that shout to my soul.

Anne Frank’s quote shown inside the beautiful image of ice and light states, “Think of all the beauty still left around you and BE HAPPY.”

Obstacles and difficult circumstances regularly slam unexpectedly into our lives. Staring into hardship and chaos, I was faced with a decision. I could choose hardship or in an instant I could decide to change. Many of the quotes above have provided people with continual growth and inspiration.

Life changes when you decide to change.

I choose to BE HAPPY!

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20 Things to Remember If Your Loved Ones Suffer from Depression

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According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 350 million people all over the world with depression. With that staggering statistic, it is highly probable that we will all interact at some point with someone experiencing a bout with depression. With that probability in mind, the very people you would not expect to be experiencing depression, such as friends, family, co-workers, and even your boss, will be the ones fighting it.

As a psychotherapist, it is crucial to disclose that in my years of experience working with individuals and even marriages experiencing depression, one of the most devastating aspects of dealing with depression is the stigma and negative criticism that comes from others. Furthermore, people may not even know that their behaviors and comments are being negative or hurtful and sometimes even make the depression feel worse.

With this in mind, here are 20 simple things we can remember when interacting with those that may be having a fight with depression. Any one of these points will not only help with the stigma surrounding depression, but may even help the individual dealing with depression.

1. They are strong in character

In a recent Tedx talk, psychiatrist and philosopher, Dr. Neel Burton explains that depression can represent a deeper search for meaning and significance in life. A person experiencing depression can be seen as working to make sense of life and trying to achieve more, fix more and improve more. Moreover, depression can be a way of preparing a better and even healthier future for ourselves and those around us. Dr. Burton goes on to mention that some of the most influential and inspirational people have dealt with depression such as, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. Their search for peace, happiness and peace led their hearts and minds into the pit of depression, but they ended up changing the course of history.

It takes immense will and transparency to acknowledge the presence of depression, but it also pushes people to create answers in the darkest moments in life. In conclusion, depression can take people into the deep woods of our souls and help clear out any unneeded weeds, or shrubs that may be hiding the beauty of life. It is not an act of fear, cowardliness, or ignorance.

2. They love it when you reach out to them unexpectedly

I believe that one of the biggest assumptions of someone dealing with a bout of depression is that they want to be left alone. Although that could seem true at times, it is a dose of healthy social medicine when a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor drops by to say hello. One growing theory about the root of depression in our society is the lack of social relationships in our communities and even in our families. There is a constant dose of emptiness and disconnection in our everyday interactions due to overworking, television and technology. People managing depression need more company, more friends, more people reaching out to them, and more people wanting to spend time with them, not the opposite.

The next time you find yourself thinking about someone that is going through a depressive state, think of a nice, engaging and friendly act you can show them, instead of choosing to stay away from them. If we use the example of Jesus, He was always with people. To take it further, Jesus chose to spend time with trusted associates and not be alone too often. In fact, it was when He was alone that Satan chose to tempt him the most.

Consider your loved ones and friends that are experiencing depression as a needing you and your presence more than ever. It is interesting to think about the times when I was growing up and my mother would always make it a point to lean on her sisters and brother during times of trouble or loneliness. Family and community is a natural remedy for depression. Let’s start to use it more often.Mother-Teresa-and-the-Express-Novena

Mother Teresa put it very well, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”

3. They do not want to burden anyone

Only a depressed individual understands how hard it is to hide their feelings and thoughts from others to avoid being shamed. One characteristic of a person dealing with depression is that they are keenly aware of themselves, their thoughts, their feelings and the behavior of others towards them. The weight that depression can bring upon a person is enough to bury them for a day – the burying of those around them is not on the to-do list.

Unfortunately, individuals fighting depression may push to be alone because they do not want to impact anyone negatively. Although this may not always be the case, depressed loved ones desire to manage their depression successfully and not allow it to touch anyone ever so slightly. This can be a paradoxical situation because being alone can actually exacerbate the symptoms of depression.

Depression can make someone feel as if they’re a burden to the world, especially to those around them. They are not seeking attention, nor want any coddling or rose-colored glasses handed to them. It is a valuable insight to recognize that managing their depression effectively is the most important goal of a depressed individual, not causing anyone any burdens or pain. If they do happen to hurt you or offend you, remember that they are not the enemy – their depression is the true enemy. Tell your depressed loved one that you accept them fully, unconditionally, and remind them of any and all positive traits you love about them.

4. They are not “broken” or “defective”

The human body is a complex machine. It is the oldest organism on Earth and we still do not know how to fully prevent it from breaking down. Still more complex though is the human brain and it’s many structures and functions. Although the cause of some forms of depression are not fully known or understood, many of us make the assumption that a depressed individual is defective, or flawed. The quality of the person is not correlated with the diagnosis of depression. Much like having a big chin, being overweight, or having a lisp is a characteristic without a given or specific cause, depression can come about in a person’s life for many reasons. It is not indicative of a broken or defective person.

The most helpful thing you can do is continue to value the depressed individual and continue to see them as whole, strong, and valuable.

5. They are natural philosophers

Individuals living with depression have many questions and opinions about life, about happiness and about their significance on Earth. It is not enough to simply make money, or launch a successful career. It is not enough to simply live the “American” dream. It is not enough to simply live in the present and hope it all works out. Depression has a funny way of making your perspective broader and more inclusive.

Depressed individuals would love to make the world a better and more just place. They would love to have answers to all of life’s challenges and then would like to share that knowledge with as many people as possible. At times, this inquisitiveness can be an enemy, since it will create your questions than there are answers.

So, recognize that at their core, depressed individuals are intelligent, inquisitive, curious and creative. This is a positive, not a negative.

6. They are fighting hard against depression and appreciate lots of support

In the biggest fight of their lives, depressed individuals need cheerleaders, not bullies. It is in the darkest moments that friends can become angels and angels become lifesavers – literally. You will have a choice at some point in your life to be a lifesaver or a lifetaker. Be a lifesaver. Give the gift of acceptance, help, encouragement and presence.

7. They like opportunities for fun and laughter

What’s the opposite of depression? Mania! It is a proven scientific phenomenon that laughter is good for the soul and the mind. Depressed individuals function the same way. I always like to remember the Jerry Seinfeld episode where Jerry has a sick friend in the hospital and tries to do his “set” to cheer him up and make him laugh.

Well, he ends up killing his friend because he made him laugh too hard. Don’t worry – you won’t hurt your depressed loved ones or friends with your humor and laughter. Dish it out and dish it out often.

8. They are sensitive to other people’s feelings and actions

Depressed individuals care – and they care a lot. They care about how you feel, how you see them, how you see yourself and what others need. It may be that they care too much! Some of the most caring people I have ever met are people that suffer from some sort of depression. Let them know what you need and what you do not need.

Set boundaries with them that are respectful, clear and considerate. Also, ask about what their needs and wants are and let them know what you are capable of giving, or not giving. There is nothing better than a sound relationship based on healthy communication and boundaries.

9. They should be treated respectfully

There is a negative stigma attached to dealing with depression. And, it’s not the depressed individual doing the stigmatization. It is society. I cannot repeat this enough – reducing the stigmatization will help alleviate the societal effects of depression. Respect is a value much more than it is an act. If it was an act, I would rather pay for it, than expect it and not receive it. Respect involves seeing beyond the depressed individual and seeing the whole person.

Depression has the ability to mask many other positive and truly remarkable qualities of a person. Do not let depression lie to you and lie to your loved one. Celebrate what you don’t see initially by seeking out the goodness of those suffering with this tough illness.

10. They should be treated like anyone else

No need for eggshells, or tiptoes. Go about your business and assume your depressed loved one is 100% healthy. Sometimes just living a routine, but a predictable, purposeful routine, can bring such a boost and be a remedy for depression.

11. They have talents and interests

We all have talents and abilities. We all have stinky breath too. Your depressed loved ones love to do something too, no doubt. And, guess what? They can probably do it really, really well! If you don’t know what it is, then, you’ve just found your next mission. Go find out. Help them find what their true passion is. Seek out ways to grow that passion, to develop and hone that passion and ultimately erase that negative identity that comes with fighting against depression.

12. They are fully capable of giving and receiving love

Every human being on Earth is capable of giving and receiving love. And, you guessed it! Your depressed loved ones are no different. Give, and you shall receive. Treat others as you would like to be treated. And, the list of rules and laws could go on and on. It does not matter that someone is fighting depression. The quality and ability of love does not change. It is still there! Reach out for it, but also give it yourself. You’ll find much more love than you thought was there.

In the small windows of reprieve from the symptoms of depression, there can be wonderful episodes of remarkable joy, laughter and communion. If you have to wait for those windows to appear, then just think about the fact that not every scene of your favorite movie is perfect. You just have to wait for your favorite parts.

13. They love learning about how life works

In searching for ways to relieve their depression, individuals fighting depression are natural problem-solvers. Do not be surprised if they are voracious readers, or learners. Do not be surprised if they ask questions that cannot be quickly answered. Many of the world’s leaders and trailblazers were led by deep analysis, deep thinking and deep, but strongly-rooted beliefs and values. What an insight! Depression is not a disability, but an ability that has the potential to depress! No one person can answer all of life’s question, nor solve all inequalities. Sometimes, simply allowing the questions to be asked is enough.

14. They do not plan on losing the fight against depression

The fight against depression may be lifelong, or it may last a moment. Regardless, the fight is one that must be won. The question always is: when will this depression leave and how can I speed this up a bit? The plan is to win against depression. The plan is not to lose and live in self-pity. Of utmost importance is to remember that depression is treatable and there are many, many resources to help someone do so. One of the first steps in fighting depression is to acknowledge its presence. In acknowledging its presence, you can begin to treat it. Many times, a person in denial will spend countless amounts of energy hiding their depression, or trying to deal with it via their own will.

15. They may feel sad for no apparent reason, so just be with them

Just like the fog invades the meadow, which eventually ruins your morning drive to work, depression can sneak up on its victims. Moods can be volatile and labile. It is not something that is easily controlled with a switch or a lever. Remember that fog? Can you just wish it away? Probably not. Your loved ones are trying very, very hard to be happy, pleasant and engaging, but what they need is simple.

They need you to just be there. Literally. Simply sit with them and read a book together, watch a comedy together, or take a trip to the local coffee shop and have a sip together. No psychologist is needed here, only your presence and acceptance. Let the fog fade away as the morning sun rises and welcomes in a new day.

16. They may not have as much energy as they would like to have

One of the symptoms of depression is fatigue or lack of energy. One of the most helpful antidepressants that has been proven by research is exercise. I realize that maybe you have heard of this recommendation before, but let me be a little more specific. The type and duration of exercise can vary, but the minimum that could have an effect is to do fast walking at least three times a week for 30 minutes each time. That is the amount of exercise someone needs in order to feel an anti-depressive effect.

Isn’t that convenient? So, if the sun is out and the breeze is whispering for you to come out and play, invite your loved one out for a walk. They may not see an immediate effect, or they actually may! Either way, exercising in this way is increasing their chances of beating depression and increasing their energy levels.

17. They may seem irritable at times – do not take it personally

Irritability is another symptom of depression. Although there is no excuse for treating people disrespectfully, it is important to let any friction with a depressed individual to slide off your back. On the other hand, it is acceptable and important to set expectations and even boundaries with a depressed individual. An expectation is a minimum standard that you expect of someone. A boundary can also be thought of as an expectation that is set in order to keep a harmonious relationship.

If a depressed individual has hurt your feelings in some way, it is okay to tell them so; however, as with any relationship, it is recommended that you remove any blaming from the exchange. Simply let your depressed loved one know how you are feeling and what you would like from them instead. Also, if your depressed loved one is not willing to listen, try again later when emotions are cool. Let them know you love them, but that you love yourself too. Not only are you modeling good self-love, but you are also modeling good communication skills and boundary-setting.

18. They do not want to hear “shoulds”

As in, “you should go out more with your friends.” If there is a kryptonite for depressed individuals, it is this one – the “shoulds”. Depressed individuals already have a deep and ingrained habit of “shoulding” themselves to the limit. In case you don’t know what a “should” is, it is a statement that has a “should” inserted in the middle of it. For example, you “should” go out and exercise more. You “should” just snap out of it. If I were you, I would do x, y and z. You “should” do it like I would.

Not only does this set up a relationship of condescension, it assumes that the depressed individual does not have a mind and will of their own. The bottom line is that it feels like the person making those statements is being a parent. And, depressed loved ones do not need a parent telling them what they “should” do. Instead, a depressed loved one should be asked as many open-ended questions as possible. This will help the depressed individual think through their options, consider alternatives, explore ideas, expand their abilities and so on and so on. “Shoulding” them is only going to put up a wall and nothing will get accomplished in this way. Remember, an open-ended question is not a yes or no question.

A yes or no question: do you have a favorite color? Yes.

An open-ended question: what are your options right now? Hmm…

19. They need lots of family support and encouragement

This one is a must. It is not true that family makes depression worse, or that it doesn’t help. In fact, there are treatment models for depression that involve family or a marital partner. And while it is probably that depression can make a relationship suffer, there is also a great power in utilizing a relationship as a tool for helping depressed individuals learn about themselves and to learn how to regulate interactions.

One of the best ways to make a difference in a depressed person’s life is to let them know you are there for them. It is something that must not be simply assumed. It is something that has to be communicated directly, face to face. Something that must be considered is the way in which you show support and encouragement. Here is a small list of recommendations:

– Give a small, sincere compliment.

– Notice their strengths and positives.

– Include them in events or plans.

– Remove any kryptonite from your language (shoulds).

– Respect their feelings and thoughts, but use open-ended questions as much as possible.

20. They need positive reinforcement more than criticism or negative reinforcement

Sea World trains its killer whales via positive reinforcement. In parenting training, positive reinforcement has been shown to work better than negative reinforcement in getting the behavior you want. In almost any relationship, highlighting the positive and celebrating that, is a healthy and effective way to increase desired behavior. On the other hand, being the recipient of positive reinforcement is a wonderful feeling. All of us have been employees at one point or another in our lives. Even in the workplace, receiving compliments for our work, and being cherished for our efforts, increases both our productivity and our dedication to the job.

Your depressed loved one will receive a boost in self-esteem whenever you decide to use positive reinforcement. Try it.

Featured photo credit: sisters at graduation via freeimages.com

The post 20 Things to Remember If Your Loved Ones Suffer from Depression appeared first on Lifehack.

10 Things You Should Do Right Now If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Cancer

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“You have cancer.”

Together, these are three of the scariest words you’ll ever hear, but take it from someone who’s been there — 51% of your recovery will be determined by your attitude: your attitude towards your diagnosis, your attitude towards your treatment team, and your attitude towards your recovery. That being said, here are the first ten things you should do if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.

1. Don’t Panic.

Douglas Adams had it right. Yes, your world as you know it is about to end, but look at what happened to Luke Skywalker, Cheryl Strayed, and Ron Woodroof. Look at Mohandas Gandhi, who had to die so that Mahatma Gandhi could be born. You are taking the first step in a journey, that’s all. It may be a quick journey; it may be a long journey, but there’s no need to panic, because you’re not that far along, right? You’ve barely begun, so there’s no need to panic. Take a deep breath, and don’t assume the worst. The energy and courage you will need on this journey will only be eroded by needless worry about things you don’t know yet, so again: try not to work yourself into a tizzy.

2. Take an Inventory.

Even if you don’t have the details from your doctors yet, if you’re facing the Big C, it’s time to take an inventory — of your assets, your medical team, and what you’ve got going for you — your friends, family, and coworkers. You want to get an idea of who can be part of your support team on this journey, because you’re going to need one. You’re going to need to know where you are financially: do you have medical insurance and what does it cover? How about short- or long-term disability? Can you work during treatment, and if so, how much or how often? Do you have savings to help if you can’t work? Next, consider your treatment: who is your doctor and are they equipped to handle your kind of cancer? Do you feel comfortable with your medical team, or would a specialist in another town or city be better for you? Lastly, take an inventory of your friends, relatives, and coworkers: who do you think can be there for you in the chemo ward, and who can you rely on to pick the kids up from daycare, or bring you takeout when you’re too tired to drive?

If you don’t have anyone, check out this post at Care.com, which includes links to resources like Lotsa Helping Hands, an online community support tool for “people who need people.” Making a list of your assets and liabilities may be scary at first, but it will be essential in helping you plan for the unexpected. It’s much easier to deal with a surprise expense or disappointment when you know what resources you have available to manage it, whether it’s a rainy day fund or a shoulder to cry on.

3. Make a Road Map.

Take a moment to create a timeline for your treatment based on your diagnosis. Find out if you have to have surgery, radiation, or both. If you have to have chemo, find out how many cycles of which drugs. Start writing everything down using a simple day planner or, if you want to get more detailed, try an online resource like NavigatingCancer.com, which provides tools to organize and manage your care. Think about your specific needs as a cancer patient. Did you know if you are younger than 40, you may have special treatment or counselling needs that don’t fit into the typically “geriatric” or “pediatric” cancer patient’s needs (for example, sperm banking!)? Take advantage of aggregator websites like CancerHawk to help you find the programs, resources, and “to-dos” you haven’t thought of yet.

Once you have a map that outlines the journey you see yourself on, identify important milestones for each step of the way so you can track your progress. Know when you can expect to be recovering from surgery, when you’ll start losing your hair, times when you can expect to be feeling tired, and, most importantly, when you will complete the various stages of your treatment. Having a reliable road map and all the tools you’ll need on the journey will help you manage your patience and endurance in the coming months, and let you look forward to completing each stage of treatment.

4. Stock Your Medicine Cabinet.

When I was facing cancer, my roommate was working with mental health patients in a community program, and she talked about a valuable tool she used to help them cope with stressful situations: a “Medicine Cabinet.” She meant this both figuratively and literally — a “medicine cabinet” is a place where you keep all the things that help you get better. Sometimes, as in the case of a person with a disorder like schizophrenia or diabetes, the “medicine” can be a drug, but in addition to the chemical kind of medicine, it’s important to keep therapeutic medicine in your medicine cabinet: exercise, funny movies, good music, comforting books, talking with friends, being in nature, and anything else that makes you feel healthier, calmer, or happier.

Before you start treatment, stock your “medicine cabinet” with as many things as you can to help you on those days when you are having a tough time. Also remember: it’s absolutely crucial that you make your contributions to the cabinet as diverse as possible. Having only one coping mechanism puts you in a dangerous place by making you vulnerable to addiction, so collect at least five “go tos” for your cabinet and make it your mission to collect even more.

5. Don’t Put The Cart Before The Horse.

Cancer can definitely throw you for a loop, especially when you turn to Google for advice! Make a decision right now not to make assumptions when you have limited information. This means no jumping to conclusions. You’re not a mind reader or a fortune teller, so don’t make assumptions that will inevitably upset you when you have no legitimate reason to believe they are true. If you have pancreatic cancer, don’t let your mind snowball into thinking you’re going to die. There are people who survive stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The internet is a double-edged sword at best when you’re fighting an illness, so take everything you read online with a grain of salt. Remember that hearsay and anecdotal evidence and misguided thinking are not your friends right now. They will only serve to make you spiral out of control. If you have credible, believable evidence, then by all means, present the evidence to your treatment team for evaluation, and weigh the results rationally. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction to those things by taking a moment to evaluate and consider what you know and what you don’t know, and then decide what you think.

6. Use Magical Thinking Appropriately.

Magical Thinking can serve you when you need to lift your spirits, but let’s face it — imagining rainbows was never proven by the Mayo Clinic to perform better than Adriamycin in a clinical trial. If your doctor tells you that you need a treatment you’re not comfortable with, by all means, get a second opinion, but don’t ignore evidence in favor of daydreams when it comes to cancer. This isn’t just your health you’re safeguarding. It’s your life. Denial, investing in untested cures, or not getting a second opinion can kill you (read Susan G. Komen’s tragic story). Meditating on a white light washing away your tumor might make you feel more comfortable during an MRI, but cancer is not the time to put your head in the sand like an ostrich and imagine everything will be fine if you just “think positive.” If you really want to use visualization and positive thoughts to get you through cancer, use them the way long-distance runners do: to extend endurance. Your body will always tell you when it really needs a break, but if you’re just uncomfortable or unhappy, a “power mantra” can distract you long enough to make it through a procedure or chemo session.

7. Find a Community.

Cancer can make you feel the most alone you’ve ever felt in your life. You might start to tell yourself you are the only one who’s ever been here, who’s ever done this, but trust me — you’re not. Whether you’re a little boy, a middle-aged woman, or a grandfather, there is a community out there that will support you and embrace you, and the Internet has made it so easy to find them! Start with ImermanAngels.org, which maintains an extensive database of cancer survivors, organized by type, age at diagnosis, stage, and location. Imerman will connect you with other survivors, often in your neck of the woods, who have been where you’ve been. You want to find your “comrades in arms” in this fight, so don’t be afraid to narrow down your search for a community that “gets” what you’re going through. The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has a great example of a program devoted to a specific patient demographic: young women.

If you have a specific type of cancer, there are even support groups out there created solely to connect, empower, and educate you – Tamika And Friends and partner site, Cervivor.org, are amazing organizations devoted specifically to supporting cervical cancer patients and survivors. If you’re a young survivor, check out Camp Mak-A-Dream or First Descents, which offer retreats that will connect you with other young people (under 40) who have or have had cancer. CancerCare.org maintains an extensive list of cancer community resources sorted by type (Online, Telephone, and In Person). The bottom line is, you’re going to need to talk to people who understand this stuff. Reach out, and you won’t feel so isolated in your struggle.

8. Throw Your Caregivers a Bone.

Many times, it is the caregivers — the parents, children, siblings, or friends — who feel the most helpless or upset when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. They need to feel like they can do something. Sometimes, their attempts to help can seem completely inept or insulting — like booking you for a makeover the day your hair starts falling out — but try to understand where these efforts are coming from. If someone is truly your friend, they will never be intentionally insensitive! They might just be lost, not knowing what they can do to help, so they’re grasping at straws. Cut them some slack. You’re friends aren’t psychic, and chances are, they have no idea what a person with cancer needs (or needs to hear). Do them a favor, and throw them a bone. If you’re sick of pinkwashing and really just  need a big, long, hug, you have to summon the courage to say to your friend, “You know, I so appreciate that you keep giving me pink bears, and you are really thoughtful to make an effort to show me you care. What I could really use from you right now is a bear hug…. and an Oprah Chai. Think we can take the bear to Starbucks?” Your friend will be so grateful to actually know what you need. So use your words, and remember that the people who love you only want to feel useful and helpful during this tough time for you. Give them what they need to be there for you.

9. Don’t Waste Your Energy.

I’m not going to lie: there are going to be jerks on this journey. There are going to be people who, when you say you’re worried about your recovery or survival, will belittle your concern or even try to blame you for your cancer! Recognize where this attitude comes from: their own fears of getting sick or dying. You see, some people need to believe that you “gave” yourself cancer, because if cancer is your fault, then a) it can’t happen to them and b) it means you must somehow be in control of whether you survive it or not. The people you love want to believe that beating cancer is as simple as you trying harder or taking the right medicine. They don’t want to believe that cancer can happen to anyone, and that the people they love can die from it no matter how badly they want them to live. We know the truth though: no one deserves cancer; no one asks for cancer. It’s unexpected and unfair. So when someone implies cancer is somehow your fault, the only appropriate response is to first, gently remind them of this.

Let them know that you understand how your illness might be reminding them that they’re mortal, but you’d appreciate them keeping their theories (on why you got cancer, why you deserve it, or what you can do to keep it from coming back) to themselves. If they say they’re “only trying to help,” just say, “Well, that’s very thoughtful of you to try, but you’re actually not helping me,” and then give them an example of what would help you, such as reading a book about what cancer patients do want to hear. If someone continues to be a jerk, simply put some space between you and that person. On your road to recovery, you can’t afford to let people drain and depress you. Cancer can be draining and depressing enough by itself!

10. Design Your Survivorship Plan.

The last thing you need to do is really get a handle on what you want your “Life After Cancer” to look like. Have a plan for when you finish treatment that addresses the physical, emotional, and financial blows cancer will bring. Knowing where you want to be when this is all over will help you get through it. Start with a practical plan: how many checkups do you need? What are the important ones? Take a look at these Survivorship Plan options and find one that speaks to you. Next, I suggest you build a “ladder:” a list of anything and everything that cancer took away, threatened to take away, or made you think you couldn’t do. It might be running a marathon, seeing the Great Wall of China, or building a treehouse. Whatever they are, make a plan to check as many as you can off in the next five years.

Remember, cancer can threaten your future, but it can’t take it away. You get to decide what happens next, and how you want to spend the rest of your life, be it 50 days or 50 years. Now is the time to write your second act!

The post 10 Things You Should Do Right Now If You’ve Been Diagnosed With Cancer appeared first on Lifehack.

If You’re Planning To Just Sell Away Your Outdated iPad, Read This First

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The new iPads from Apple are better than ever, but just because you have a new model doesn’t mean that you can’t do something with the old one that still works perfectly well. After all, you spent enough money on it, so you may as well get as much out of it as you can. Here are some things you can do with your old Apple tablet.

1. Make it a Radio

You can turn your old iPad into a radio system by only using it to play music. If you have guests, they can play all of their music through your new radio system that didn’t cost you anything. All you need is a set of speakers, and you can get a pretty decent set for a reasonable price. An added bonus is that you get loads of great music, without having to find a place in your home for a bulky stereo system.

2. Home Security

When you use your old iPad with AtHome Camera Free or a similar app, it becomes a video surveillance system. Just point the iPad at a specific spot, such as the front door. As soon as any movements at the area are detected, you will be notified by the iPad.

3. Your New Recipe Book

Recipe books or loose papers with recipes written on them can be a real pain, and they get lost easily. Your old iPad can hold all kinds of recipes, shopping lists, etc. You can attach the iPad to a wall, and it is always there when you need it. Big Oven organizes your recipes, automatically generates shopping lists, and offers 200,000 additional cooking projects online.

4. Sell It

There are plenty of people who can’t afford the newer models, and they would be more than happy to buy your old device. Simply sell it on a website such as GadgetSalvation. Send them the iPad, they sell it, and you get the money. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

5. Music Effects

If you are a musician, an old iPad can be an extremely useful tool. Use it with a MIDI interface and your favorite amp emulation app, and you will have all kinds of fun guitar effects to play with.

6. A New Clock

If you get the QLockTwo app, which only costs $0.99, you can turn your iPad into a clock. The fun part is you don’t even have to look at the time, because it will speak the time to you in words.

7. Give it to Your Kids

Take any adult-oriented apps off and add kid-friendly apps, books, etc., and turn the old iPhone into a way to entertain your kids. Make sure that you put it in a strong, durable case. Also, make sure that you set the parental controls so the kids don’t see anything they shouldn’t, and that they don’t accidentally buy anything online.

8. Television Remote

You can get iOS apps from many television firms such as Sony that will allow you to control your television, using your old iPad as a remote control. Or, you can use an S-video, VGA cable, or Apple TV to watch programs from the iPad on your television.

9. Donate It

There are many charities that would love to receive your old iPad. The devices are donated to veterans, seniors, special needs children, etc. who can make good use of them.

10. Keep it in Your Car

There are many ways you can use your old iPad in your car. It can be a navigation system, a messaging system, or even entertainment for the kids. Get a mount such as a RAM Mount or a ModulR to keep it in a handy location.

Featured photo credit: Leon Lee via flickr.com

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The Best Craft Beers from Each State in the USA

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The craft beer revolution is in full swing, and it’s about time we tell you about which beers rank amongs the best. Each state has it’s own unique brew culture, so we compiled a list of the 50 best craft beers from each state.

Alabama

Good People Brewing in Birmingham is the best source of brews in the Yellowhammer State. Their Snakehandler IPA has 10% ABV and has hints of pineapple, paired with a strong caramel overtone. Yum.

Alaska

Alaskans tend to stick to stouts because of their heavier kick and warm undertones. Check out Midnight Sun Brewing Company’s Berserker Imperial Stout, an opaque, vicious black stout with a huge alcohol-by-volume percentage.

Arizona

Out in the desert beer drinkers get thirsty. Four Peaks Brewing has several beers that can quench that thirst, best among them their light-bodied Peach Ale.

Arkansas

Ozark Beer Company is an up-and-coming brewery that puts together some tasty beers. Try their Cream Stout, which is full of notes of oak, dark chocolate, and goes well with that southern barbeque.

California

The Golden State is awash in high-quality craft beers, so picking the best among them is difficult, so I am going to go with the most unique. 21st Amendment Brewing in San Francisco has a beer called Hell Or High Watermelon, a seasonal watermelon-flavored wheat beer that is perfect in summer. But we have to shout out to Lagunitas, to Sierra Nevada, to Anchor Brewing… well, you get the picture.

Colorado

Colorado is covered in beers, literally– their baseball stadium is named for a major brewer. For this recommendation, I am going to point out one available almost everywhere: New Belgium Brewing’s Ranger IPA. It’s hop-heavy and flavorful and just plain awesome.

Connecticut

Old Burnside Brewing in East Hartford has a Scottish Ale that’s delicious. Called the Ten Penny Ale, it’s as balanced a beer as you can find in ole CT.

Delaware

Delaware beer is made up of two words – Dogfish Head. A brewery known for it’s various IPA’s, try the 60-Minute IPA, the 90-Minute IPA, the 120-Minute IPA, or the 75-Minute IPA… they’re all great, really.

Florida

Funky Buddha Brewing took a very unique idea for a beer and ran with it – Maple Bacon Coffee Porter. It’s a whole breakfast in a glass, and is sweet, salty, creamy, and much more.

Georgia

Red Hare Brewing in Marietta takes the cake in the Peach State. If you happen upon it, grab their Long Day Lager, a golden lager with a citrusy aroma.

Hawaii

Kona Brewing is a mainstay of any craft beer enthusiast’s repertoire. Their Fire Rock Pale Ale is a coppery ale with a citrus finish, and is one of my personal favorites.

Idaho

Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company bends the lines of traditional brewing guidelines. For example, their St. Thomas Black Saison is a combination of coffee and malt notes with a light crisp finish that makes it good in either the summer or winter.

Illinois

I once wandered into a grocery store in Aurora, Illinois, with a friend and happened upon Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout. My friend immediately bought all of the Bourbon County Stout they had. He later sold some of it for a profit. With a huge 14.2% alcohol content, this brew is aged in old oak whiskey barrels and released yearly. This one is a unicorn of beers, so to speak.

Indiana

Three Floyd’s Brewing in Munster, Indiana is a bastion of delicious craft beers. For this list, I have to go with their Dark Lord Imperial Stout, which has its own festival called Dark Lord Day. From their Web site, it “has a reverse cascading head that starts blowing out… like the the Dark Lord rising from the black primordial beginnings.” Wow.

Iowa

The Midwest must be full of cult-ish beers. People take road trips to Toppling Goliath Brewing, which once brewed their beers a half a barrel. Try the ZeeLander IPA, whic focuses on hops from New Zealand.

Kansas

Tallgrass Brewing is a hard-working make of specialty tallboy beers that have beautiful artwork on their cans. Try their 8-Bit American Pale Ale, a tropical tasting beer that has Pac-Man on the can.

Kentucky

Against the Grain Brewing in Louisville is pretty great. Try the Citra Ass Down American IPA, brewed with Citra hops, a variety of hops introduced in 2008.

Louisiana

Abita Brewing is the go-to in this French-tinged state. You might still be able to find some of their Christmas Ale. Grab it if you do, it’s great.

Maine

Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine, is at the foremost here. Grab the Allagash White, which is brewed with coriander and orange peels.

Maryland

Flying Dog has some very unique brews. My personal favorite is their UnderDog Atlantic Lager, a light, bitter beer, that just tastes like the Atlantic Ocean. It’s great.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts is known for Sam Adams, but I am going to point out Clown Shoes Brewing, specifically their Pecan Pie Porter. If you happen upon this one, grab it.

Michigan

Michigan is a great state for craft beers. While Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids is great, I have to give it to Bell’s Brewing. Bell’s Two Hearted is a delicious IPA that is a staple in the Midwest. Get it while it’s hot.

Minnesota

Dangerous Man Brewing is the place to go in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. This is one of those destination breweries, so while you’re there, grab a growler of the Rooibos Red Ale.

Mississippi

You’d be hard-pressed to find a great brewery out here. But if you stumble across it, try the Devil’s Harvest American Pale Ale from Southern Prohibition Brewing.

Missouri

Perennial Artisan Ales takes the cake in the Show-Me State. If you can manage to win their lottery (not joking), you earn the right to take home a bottle of their Barrel-Aged Abaxas, a year-aged Imperial Stout that includes the flavors of both ancho chilies and cinnamon sticks.

Montana

Big Sky Brewing boasts Moose Drool Ale, a superbly drinkable brown ale that uses four different malts. It’s a great one with a fairly wide distribution area.

Nebraska

If you happen to be in Omaha, stop by Krug Brewery, the oldest brewery in the state, and grab a drink. They’ve got a great food menu at the taproom, as well.

Nevada

Great Basin Brewing in Reno is the place to be. Their Bitchin’ Berry is made with real raspberries and will do well to quench your desert thirst.

New Hampshire

Smuttynose Brewing has a good line-up of beers. Grab their Bouncy House IPA, perfectly well-balanced and bursting with flavor.

New Jersey

Atlantic City, a Prohibition-era staple of alcohol, boasts Carton Brewing. If you are on your way to the casinos, grab a Boat Beer, which hangs on some grapefruit and mossy notes.

New Mexico

Santa Fe Brewing Company is the largest craft beer company in the state. Grab their Black IPA if you get a chance. A chocolatey IPA, it’s a unique concept,

New York

Ommegang Brewing functions in cross-branding and brewing with their Game of Thrones beers. Valar Margulis is supposed to taste like “sweet revenge.” Grab it, if you are so inclined.

North Carolina

Foothills Brewing wins the award for most arousing beer name with it Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout. A seasonal bourbon-barrel-aged beer, this one is just right, especially when shared.

North Dakota

North Dakota is known for Fargo, both the movie and the brewing company. Grab their Sodbuster Porter, a smoky, thick beer meant to get your through the winter.

Ohio

Ohio has a wide selection of craft beers to chose from but you should grab something from the Hoppin’ Frog Brewing, with beers that focus on alliteration in their naming. Maybe the D.O.R.I.S., the Destroyer Oatmeal Stout, will suffice.

Oklahoma

Prairie Artisan Ales gives Oklahoma some legit street cred. Tip back a Wine Barrel Noir, an imperial stout uniquely aged in wine barrels. The diverse brewing history gives it a mosaic of flavors.

Oregon

Oregon is speckled with delicious craft brews. Sticking to just one, I have to recommend Deschutes. They have a huge distribution area, so you can probably find the River Ale in your area.

Pennsylvania

They have a ton of small craft brewies in the Keystone State, but I have to shout out to Yuengling, which, if I could get it in Chicago, would be my personal everyday beer. It’s from the oldest brewing in America and is just perfectly simple.

Rhode Island

Narragansett Beer boasts some great tall boys. Grab an Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout and take your time sippin’. It’s great.

South Carolina

Most South Carolina beers stay within its borders. But if you happen to be in the state, sit down at Holy City Brewery in Charleston and ask the bartender to take care of ya, and then enjoy that southern hospitality.

South Dakota

Crow Peak Brewing is the place to be in South Dakota. Pour out an 11th Hour IPA, which is flavored with pine and citrus notes.

Tennessee

Nashville has Yazoo Brewing and their perfect Sly Rye Porter. Grab it and its spicy undertones if you can.

Texas

Shiner Brewing in Shiner, Texas, has a great selection. Try Shiner Bock, which was original a seasonal, but became a year-round beer because of the demand.

Utah

Epic Brewing is proud to boast the best beers in the state. Their Spiral Jetty IPA is the most aggressive of a series of five IPA’s Epic brews. Grab it and enjoy.

Vermont

Magic Hat Brewing is the winner in the Green Mountain State. With a wide distribution area, you can find their #9 almost anywhere. It’s a “not-quite-pale ale.” So mysterious.

Virginia

Devil’s Backbone Brewing is the place to go here. Grab their Pear Lager for a unique fruit twist on a solid beer.

Washington

Red Hook Brewery is the place to be out west. Their Pumpkin Porter actually contains pureed pumpkin, as well as cinnamon and nutmeg. This has got to be the best pumpkin-flavored beer around

West Virginia

The Mountaineers of the University of West Virginia know all about Morgantown Brewing Company. The Nutty Blonde Peanutbutter Ale ale is unique and creamy and just for you.

Wisconsin

New Glarus’s Spotted Cow is a perfect beer sold ONLY in the state of Wisconsin. It’s no joke that, when passing through, Midwesterners make sure they pick up a case.

Wyoming

If you are in Jackson Hole, make sure to grab a Mommy’s Little Monster IPA, the only beer on this list named after a Social Distortion song.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc

Featured photo credit: Thomas Hawk via flickr.com

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The Top 10 Myths About the Human Brain

Human Brain Myths

The brain is one of the most phenomenal structures in the known universe and if you want to tweak it for its highest performance, you need to dispel the myths we’ve created around it. Take comfort in the fact that your cognitive performance actually goes up as you age. You’re not just lazily using 10% of your brain, and it’s possible to rewire your brain to become more productive over time.

There are all kinds of weird ideas floating around about how the human brain works. Ever heard the old story that playing classical music for your kid will make them smarter? Or that brain games help improve your IQ? Both are wrong. This infographic of Top 10 Myths about the human brain has explained it all.

Top 10 Myths About the Human Brain | Journl


HumanBrain2

Top 10 Myths About The Human Brain

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8 Tricks To Help You Read Faster

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You probably don’t remember learning to read as a child. But the way we were taught to read when we were in our infant years has little relevance to how we should read as an adult. Whereas the slow methodical method may work for youngsters who are grappling with the basics of words and sentence structure, adults, who often need to process a lot of information in a short time, need a completely different method of reading. Learning to read faster is one of the best skills to develop as an adult, saving you time as you study, research, and sort through your inbox. Read on for some great tips on how to read faster.

1. Learn How to Scan

The most important skill you need to develop if you want to read faster is scanning. Many adults find scanning difficult because it feels counter-intuitive. After all, when we were taught to read, we were taught to pay attention to every word in a sentence. However, much of this is unnecessary, because research shows that our adult minds have an amazing ability to fill in information gaps.

For example, look at the following piece of text:

After this experience she decided that she would never again date men from Mediterranean backgrounds, no matter how great they looked or their accents sounded. It simply wasn’t worth the pain.’

By drawing out and focusing on only the highlighted words, I am saving myself the effort of processing every word, and allowing my brain to fill in the missing information.

2. Only Read the First and Last Sentence of Each Paragraph

According to Abby Marks Beale, America’s #1 Speed Reading Expert, people who write to convey information generally follow a fairly tried-and-true formula. That is, to start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the paragraph and gives an idea of where that paragraph is headed. As paragraphs in publications like science and academic journals can contain a lot of information, you’re wasting your time reading all of it if you are already familiar with the topic. Next time you’re faced with a daunting text, try reading the first and last sentence in each paragraph. Chances are you won’t miss much.

3. Turn Off the Voice in Your Head

Another habit we picked up when learning to read in grade school is to sound out words, often from reading aloud. Even as adults, most of us retain this habit to some extent, as over the years, we have become so used to “hearing” the word in our minds. The problem with this is that it takes up unnecessary time, because we can understand a word more quickly than we can say it.

One way to eliminate the voice is to read blocks of words (as mentioned in point 1), as it’s much harder to vocalize sets of words than single words.

Simply eliminating this voice can drastically increase your ability to read faster. However, this techniques does tend to reduce your enjoyment of a well-written text, so you can turn it back on for your favorite crime novelist or poet.

4. Use A Pointer

Often when we read, we tend to ‘regress’, or go over and read the same material again. This is usually due to poor concentration, and results in losing the flow of what your are reading. This is a waste of time, especially when the information you’re re-reading isn’t really necessary. But you can cut down on regression by using a pen as a pointer. Train your eyes to follow the pointer, and this will help you to avoid skipping back.

5. Don’t Multitask While Reading

One of the worst reading habits is reading while watching TV, listening to the radio, or even allowing mental interference to distract you from what you are reading. If you want to read faster, you MUST cut out the distractions and focus solely on the task.

6. Use ‘Soft Eyes’

According to experts at Mind Tools, inefficient readers tend to focus on each word, working across each line. This is inefficient because your eye can actually take in about 1.5 inches at a glance, which includes five words. You can also engage your peripheral vision to expand your gaze and take in even more words. You can achieve this by relaxing your facial muscles when reading and allowing your eyes to soften.

7. Ask Yourself Questions About the Text Before You Read

This technique is used by teachers to improve reading comprehension. But it’s also a good way to help you read faster. If you have some idea about what useful information can be taken from the text, make yourself a set of questions and then read quickly to find the answers. This will definitely save you time spent on looking through useless information.

8. Try Speed Reading Software

Many speed-reading techniques can be done manually. However, there is always the temptation to fall back into old habits. If you are serious about learning to read faster, you may want to check out software like Spreeder, a free speed reading training course designed to improve reading speed and comprehension. It uses methods like ‘pointing’, but does it electronically, and is a great way to increase your reading speed.

Living in the information age, we are often bombarded with information we simply don’t have time to process, but if you take these suggestions on board and practice them regularly, you’ll learn to read faster and cut down on the amount of time you waste on information overload in no time.

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